Vancouver Marks 21st Winter Olympics

02.08.10 | FL News Team

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics mark the 21st time countries have come together to compete in Winter Games. The Winter Olympics have occurred every four years since 1924 except during World War Two, when the 1940 and 1944 games were cancelled. The only other scheduling change came in the early '90s. Up through 1992, the Winter Games took place the same year as the Summer Olympics. In a marketing move, the Winter Olympics were moved to offset the Summer Games. Therefore, the following Winter Games took place in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994. After the quick two-year turnaround, the Games returned to a four-year format.

 The inaugural games of 1924 took place in Chamonix, France. The Games featured 16 nations competing in 13 events from five different sports disciplines. Only 294 athletes, 281 men and 13 women, competed at those Games. Norway was the big winner in '24, winning a total 17 medals, including four gold, seven silver and six bronze. One of the Norwegian athletes was 11-year-old Sonja Heine, who would go on to win 10 world championships and three Olympic titles.

 By comparison, the 2006 Winter Games of Torino, Italy featured 80 countries and just over 25-hundred athletes. They competed in 84 sports from seven disciplines. Germany was the top medal-getter for the third-straight Winter Olympics, capturing 29 medals. The United States came in second with 25 medals, and Canada was third with 24. With every Winter Olympics, the games tend to grow. The Vancouver Games look like they will continue that trend. An expected 55-hundred athletes from over 80 countries are projected to compete in a record 86 sports.

 Norway's dominance of the Winter Games has been a regular occurrence. The Scandinavian country was the top medal winner at five of the first six Winter Olympic Games. Overall, Norway has come out on top at Winter Games seven times, with the most recent occurrence coming in 1994. That tied Norway with the former Soviet Union for the most number-one finishes. The United States only finished with the most medals once, at the third Olympic Games of Lake Placid in 1932.

 The 2010 Games represent the second time Canada will host the Winter Olympics. Calgary, Alberta hosted the 1988 Games. Also, In 1976, Montreal was the home of the Summer Olympics. The United States has hosted the Winter Games the most times with four competitions. France has hosted three Winter Olympics and a number of countries have hosted the Winter Games twice. St. Moritz, Switzerland and Lake Placid, New York are the only two cities to be repeat hosts.